Uruguay: 30th Anniversary of ICAO

and 75th Anniversary of first engined-powered flight of Wright Brothers


Issue date: 13/06/1978


This sheet presents a real mini-history of flight-related topics and shows three stamps (from left to right):

  1. Concorde and Dornier Do X from Lufhansa, registered D-1929.
  2. Graf Zeppelin D‑LZ 127, stratosphere balloon and double decker Wright Flyer I.
  3. Columbia Space Shuttle and Savoia-Marchetti of de Pinedo.

Control number printed sideways in the left margin. Coat of Arms of Uruguay at the top-centre.



Sheet mounted on Rowland Hill Gesellschaft hingeless album sheet with explanatory notes - Geschichte der Luftfahrt.


The First Day Covers (FDC) are very scarce items as the miniature sheet was issued in limited quantities.





Background: With watermark: inverted ROU (for República Oriental del Uruguay) within a sun. The official country name Republica Oriental del Uruguay indicates that the Republic lies east of the River Uruguay.

ICAO celebrated in fact its 30th anniversary in April 1977.

The US Space Shuttle program was formally launched on 5 January 1972, when President Nixon announced that NASA would proceed with the development of a reusable Space Shuttle system. The first fully functional shuttle orbiter was Columbia delivered to the Kennedy Space Center on 25 March 1979; it was first launched on 12 April 1981. However, Columbia was later lost, with all seven crew members, during re-entry on 1 February 2003. STS-135 (International Space Station - ISS - assembly flight) was the final mission of the American Space Shuttle. It used orbiter Atlantis; the mission launched on 8 July 2011 and was scheduled to land on 20 July 2011, but the mission was extended to 21 July 2011.

The Coat of Arms of Uruguay was first adopted by law on 19 March 1919. It consists of an oval, which is divided into four equal sections and crowned by a rising golden sun, the “Sun of May”, symbolizing the rising of the Uruguayan nation. The oval is surrounded by two olive branches, representing peace, joined at the bottom by a blue ribbon. In the upper left quarter there is a scale, symbol of equality and justice, set on a blue background. The upper right quarter contains the Cerro de Montevideo (Montevideo Hill) with its fortress on the summit, which represents strength, on a silver background. In the lower left, also on a silver background, there is a galloping horse, symbolizing liberty. The lower right quarter holds an ox, which is a symbol of abundance, on a blue background.

On the first cover shown here above, the reference to the German Lufthansa airline is interesting and requires some explanation about the long-lasting business and flying association with Uruguay. Jorge and Alberto Marquez Vaeza started the Uruguayan PLUNA airline (Primeras Lineas Uruguayas de Navigazion Aera) on 20 November 1936. The 1970s saw the Viscount fleet of the airline grow with the purchase of several more Viscount 800 series aircraft. The Viscounts were used until 1982; but toward the end of their fleet life, they were more often used on the summer seasonal service. PLUNA remained jet-less until 1978, when the airline purchased two Boeing 727 jets from Lufthansa. The two aircraft were never painted in full PLUNA livery; they flew in basic Lufthansa livery, but with the Lufthansa crane logo within the fin circle replaced by a stylized ethnic bird logo. From the early 1970s, Lufthansa recorded several first flights to Uruguay. In 1934, Lufthansa also pioneered transatlantic first flights to South America with the Dornier Do J Wal (Whale) aircraft. The Uruguayan National Flag, depicted on the cover, is described as follows: 9 stripes flag (5 white and 4 blue) to represent the nine original departments (i.e. the subdivisions) of the country, and the canton with a sun and its geometric rays.

The Dornier Do X was the largest, heaviest and most powerful flying boat in the world when it was produced by the Dornier Company of Germany in 1929 and remained so until World War II. The aircraft was conceived by Dr. Claudius Dornier starting in 1924, and took seven years to design and another two years to build. The Dornier Do X was built by the Altenrhein-based Swiss Dornier company and first flew on 25 July 1929. But engine troubles caused considerable problems and the original 12 (six tandem pairs) Siemens-built Bristol Jupiter radials were replaced by 12 Curtiss Conquerors. Only in October 1930, the airplane was removed from the German laboratory for aviation and got the registration D-1929 (as it can be seen on the miniature sheet). Its most notable flight was from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to New York. Beginning on 3 November 1930, it flew via Amsterdam, Galshot (England), Lisbon (where fire damaged a wing), Canary Islands (where the hull was damaged), Bolama (Portuguese Guinea), Cape Verde Islands, Fernando de Noronha (Brazilian archipelago), Natal (Brazil), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil); the aircraft then went north to the United States, finally reaching New York on 27 August 1931. The Do-X was a phenomenal technical success, but a practical and economic failure.